Three earthquakes have jolted Asia within 60 minutes on May 12, 2015, with the epicenters stretching from Afghanistan-Tajikistan, to Nepal-Tibet border, to Indonesia regions. It must be mentioned that the earthquakes have taken place in the Himalayan mountain region, which is considered to be the youngest mountain range in the world, as it was formed close to 50 million years ago due to constant collision between the Eurasian and the Indian plates. The first earthquake caused tremors across countries including Afghanistan and Tajikistan, which is close to the Hindu Kush Mountain Range, considered a sub range of the Himalayan range. The second earthquake took place in the South of Indonesia, in the sea bed between Java Ridge and Java Trench. The third earthquake took place near the border region of Nepal and Tibet.
North India was not left untouched, as tremors were felt as far away as the Indian capital city of New Delhi, to Kathmandu, the Nepalese capital city. Tremors were also felt at the highest mountain peak in the world, Mt. Everest. It is not completely accurate to say that one earthquake can cause other earthquakes in different parts of the world. It does sound frightening and mind-numbing, but there is very little or no scientific proof to support this theory. Though, there could be a geological explanation to the phenomenon, predicting earthquakes with pin point accuracy has not yet been achieved. Here are the details about the three earthquakes that hit Asia within 60 minutes and stretch from Afghanistan to Nepal to Indonesia regions.
An earthquake of magnitude 4.6 was reported in Yangi Qal’ah in Afghanistan. The Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) was 6:10 a.m. and the local time in Afghanistan was May 12, 2015 at 10:40 a.m. This is 11:10 p.m. on May 11 as per the Pacific Standard Time (PST). Tremors were also felt in Chubek, Tajikistan while the epicenter was close to 4 miles East, South-East of Yangi Qal’ah near the international border between Afghanistan and Tajikistan. It was close to 22 miles North, North-West of Rustaq, Afghanistan.
As per the USGS, the exact geographic coordinates of the epicenter sits at 37.434N, 69.674E with the depth of close to 6 miles. The seismotectonics of the Himalayan mountain range and the movement of the Indian plate up north, further into the Eurasian plate at a speed of 40-50 mm/year, are considered the cause of earthquakes in the entire region.
An earthquake of magnitude 5.1 has been was reported within 20 minutes after the earthquake in Afghanistan, about 148 miles South of Sidangsari, Indonesia, and between the Java Ridge and Java Trench regions. The Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) was 6:27 a.m. and the local time in Indonesia was May 12, 2015 at 1:27 p.m. This is 11:27 p.m. on May 11 as per the Pacific Standard Time (PST).
The epicenter was close to 160 miles South of Kroya, Indonesia. It was about 290 miles South, South-East of Jakarta. As per the USGS, the exact geographic coordinates of the epicenter sits at 9.933S, 108.846E with the depth of about 30 miles. No tsunami warning has been issued yet.
The seismotectonics of the Java region, and the movement of the Indian and the Australian plates towards converging with one another are considered the causes of earthquakes in the entire region. The subducting of these two plates beneath the region known as Sunda convergent margin, which stretches from the Bay of Bengal to the Andaman Islands, at a rate of 50-70 mm/year is a result of their tectonic activity.
An earthquake of magnitude 7.3 has been was reported within 40 minutes after the second earthquake in Indonesia, about 11 miles South-East of Kodari, Nepal, and very close to the international border between Nepal and Tibet. The Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) was 7:05 a.m. and the local time in Nepal was May 12, 2015 at 12:50 p.m. This is 12:05 a.m. on May 12 as per the Pacific Standard Time (PST).
The epicenter was 47 miles East, North-East of Kathmandu, Nepal. It was about 48 miles East, North-East of Patan and to the South-East of Zham, Tibet. As per the USGS, the exact geographic coordinates of the epicenter sits at 27.837N, 86.077E with the depth of 9.3 miles.
The constant recurring tremors are a result of the April 25, M7.8 earthquake which shook Nepal. Experts had warned that aftershocks of such a massive earthquake could last for up to three months. This is also a result of the northward push of the Indian plate as explained earlier. The force, with which the Indian plate is colliding with the Eurasian plate, is driving behind the uplift of the Himalayan mountain range. This is by far the largest aftershock with multiple jolts and tremors already been recorded. Major aftershocks were recorded for two consecutive days earlier on May 2 of M5.0, and May 3 of M4.5 near the Nepalese city of Pokhara, and the Gorkha district respectively. Thus, three earthquakes have jolted Asia within 60 minutes on May 12, 2015, with their epicenters stretching from Afghanistan-Tajikistan, to Nepal-Tibet border, to Indonesia regions.
By Ankur Sinha
Photo by Jean-Marie Hullot-Creativecommons Flickr License